Left and Right state: there are no faults to mention in either poem.
In judgement: both Left and Right here refer to a ‘person’ (kimi), with the Left’s ‘making her an offering’ (nusa wa sen) that she might ‘trail in my direction’ (ware ni nabiku ya), while the Right’s has left his heart on Mirror Mount and ‘is not in haste to rise and don his travelling garb’ (isogi tatarenu tabigoromo): each of these poems is evocative, and makes effective use of wordplay, with the Left’s ‘make her an offering’ certainly resembling something I have come across previously, but the initial ‘goddess Asake’ is poor. The Right’s ‘Mirror Mount’ (kagami yama) is something I am familiar with, and this has a gentle tone. Thus, the Right wins.
The Right state: what is the Left’s poem about? In appeal: it reflects Changkang, who, feeling a woman living next door was beautiful, painted her and was then able to meet her. The Left state: the Right’s poem has no faults to mention.
In judgement: I, too, was unsure of the meaning of ‘my unquiet heart filled with feelings upon her’ (mune yasukaranu omoi woba hito no ue ni zo), and after reading the Left’s response, I am still unclear. In general, in these cases it is customary to cite the source of such things, and to hear of such wide reading is interesting indeed, but this is simply, ‘it reflects Changkang, who, feeling a woman living next door was beautiful, painted her and was then able to meet her’, so it would be difficult to locate within the usual Three Histories; furthermore, I have no recollection of a person named in this Chinese manner, and so an ignorant old man like myself can only ask, who is this Nagayasu? More importantly, though, I do not feel the conception of this poem is particularly well-matched to the topic. The Right’s ‘a lady painted in a picture’ (e ni kaku imo) is a little over-explicit, but ‘how lacking are’ (makoto sukunaki) would seem to be in the style of the Kazan Archbishop, and as I feel this is easier to understand than Nagayasu, I make the Right the winner.
The Chrysanthemum Match during the reign of the Kanpyō Emperor.
The Gentlemen of the Left. For the chrysanthemum in the initial round, Kotategimi, a young courtier lad, was dressed as a woman, and brought in the flower, hiding his face with it. A further nine blooms were planted in a suhama. The form of the suhama was certainly very charming. The chrysanthemums had their names written on long strips of paper, which were twined about them in places to show them to their best advantage.
Initial Round: a chrysanthemum from Minase in Yamazaki
uchituke ni minase Fa nioFi masareru wori Fito kara ka Fana no tune kamo
Suddenly Minase, with scent Superb is filled – Is it from a lady there, or Are the blooms ever so?